Orpheum Theater

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

After going dark because of the pandemic, many big entertainment venues in Wichita are reopening for live performances this spring.

Stages at the Orpheum Theatre, the Cotillion, Intrust Bank Arena and Wave have been dormant for more than a year.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Curtains have been allowed to lift since Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s stay-at-home order ended in late May.

But local theaters are still figuring out how to do so safely. And the ones that have opened are struggling to convince audiences to take a seat.

"People are not buying tickets," said J Basham, owner of The Crown Uptown Theatre in Wichita.

The Crown reopened in early June. To keep the audience safe, the theater cut its capacity in half. But even with fewer seats, Basham says he’s not filling them.

Celebrity & Chef Cookoff

Jun 15, 2012

I was on a judging panel for the Orpheum’s annual “Celebrity and Chef Cook-off” a few days ago. I have graduated from contestant to judge in the last few years, and I have to say that judging is no less stressful, but it is less sweaty, and I smell better when it’s all over. As a general rule, I dislike cooking competitions, particularly the ones on TV, but the live ones are exciting, with ingredients flying around, and the smell and sizzle and quiet cursing just adding to the party.